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Welsh Springer Spaniel: Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Matt Jackson

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Welsh Springer Spaniel: Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a gun dog that originates from Wales and was first bred to spring game for its hunters. Today, it makes a good all-round pet, potentially adapting to life in an apartment and generally getting along with people and other animals. It does have high energy requirements, however, and they do require plenty of human attention.

The Welsh Springer forms a close bond with its family and will become an inseparable part of the family unit, enjoying getting to spend as much time with its humans as possible.

Breed Overview

Height:

16 – 20 inches

Weight:

35 – 45 pounds

Lifespan:

12 – 15 years

Colors:

Red, white

Suitable for:

Active owners who enjoy dog training and spending time outdoors

Temperament:

Loyal, loving, affectionate, friendly, intelligent, responsive, energetic

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is friendly, typically with everybody they meet, as well as families of all ages. It is a gentle dog that will follow its humans around and isn’t afraid to show its affection.

However, this does mean that the breed can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. This excludes owners who are out at work all day, and while the breed is friendly and non-aggressive, it is advised that potential owners have experience in training dogs, so it may not be the ideal choice for a first-time owner.

To aid in training and socialization, it can be a good idea to sign a Welsh Springer Spaniel up for canine sports activities.

Welsh Springer Spaniel Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Welsh Springer Spaniel Puppies

Welsh Springer Spaniel puppies
Image Credit: el ka, Shutterstock

Although they have quite a strong following, Welsh Springer Spaniels remain an uncommon breed of Springer Spaniel, with the English Springer proving more easy to find. However, there are breeders out there so if you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can find a Welshie breeder. Do your due diligence when settling on a breeder. Ensure that they have sanitary and comfortable living conditions and that the parents have been screened for common health problems. Meet the puppies and the mother before agreeing to purchase, and ensure that the puppies are lively and that they engage with you when you visit.

Alternatively, you may find puppies and adult Welsh Springer Spaniels in rescues. The breed is very energetic and can suffer separation anxiety so these are two possible reasons why former owners may have given their dogs up. Speak to the rescue to try and get as much history about the dog as possible. Determine whether they are good with other dogs, cats, and people, and if you have dogs of your own, have them meet the Welshie before you adopt.

The Welsh Springer does need training from a young age, especially to ensure that it doesn’t jump up and that it knows when enough is enough. The breed has a lot of energy and is always up for playtime, and you can use this to your advantage when training. But even as a puppy, the Springer needs to be given lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Breed Origin & History

Spaniels first originated in Spain, before making their way to various countries, including England and Wales. Originally, all Spaniels were classified as Cocker Spaniels. Then, they were separated into Water and Land Spaniels, with the Welsh Springer Spaniel being a Water Spaniel type. They became popular during the 18th Century, used as hunting dogs by nobility and while they lost favor, with English Springer Spaniels being preferred, they enjoyed a renaissance during the Victorian era.

The Welsh Springer Spaniel was recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1902 and by the American Kennel Club in 1906, having been imported to the U.S. in the late 19th Century.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Welsh Springer Spaniel 🧠

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a friendly and loving dog that makes a great companion but is demanding of its owner’s time and companionship, which means it may not be suitable for owners who go out to work all day. If you do work and take on a Welshie, you will need to ensure they get lots of exercise, and have plenty of stimulation, and you should consider getting a walker or dropping your pup off at doggy daycare.

Although the Welshie does require a lot of exercise, they can adapt to life in an apartment. Again, you will need to ensure they get a lot of exercise, in the shape of long walks, runs, and potentially through canine sports and classes. Alternatively, they will enjoy being given access to a large outdoor area to run around and play in.

As a working dog, the Welsh Springer Spaniel does like to be given tasks and takes well to training. They are responsive dogs that are eager to please, too, which is a good combination for training purposes.

Although loving with family and typically friendly with other dogs, the Welsh Springer Spaniel can be shy around strangers. Early and ongoing socialization will help teach the breed that it doesn’t need to be afraid of new people or different situations, so you should start socializing as soon as you get your puppy home.

Welsh Springer Spaniel
Image Credit: el-ka, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Welsh Springer Spaniel may have originated as a working dog but has become known for being a loving and loyal family dog. They are gentle dogs, which means they are suitable for children and will form a close bond with their owners.

The breed thrives on companionship, so if you are planning days out or exercise outdoors, plan on taking your Spaniel with you. The breed doesn’t tend to favor one family member over another and will grow close to those who feed, walk, or give them affection. After meeting visitors, the Springer will warm up to them and greet them as friends next time they visit.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

They will usually get along with family dogs and cats, although early introductions always help ensure that the new dog will integrate into the pet family. Take introductions slowly and give the new dog and existing pets plenty of space.

Also, ensure they both have their own area to retreat to and if one of the pets is a cat, provide a high space for the cat to escape to. Springers are bred to flush birds out of tall grass, so while they won’t necessarily chase cats or other small animals, you do have to watch them around birds. Never leave your dog unattended with a small animal out of its enclosure, including birds.

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Things to Know When Owning a Welsh Springer Spaniel:

The Welsh Springer Spaniel makes a good family pet and can be a good pet for children, as well as adults. They can be a little standoffish around strangers, although this shouldn’t materialize as aggression, and the Welshie will eventually warm to new people. However, they do need a lot of exercise and companionship, so might not be the ideal pet for all potential owners.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

This medium breed is an energetic dog that needs a lot of exercise, which means it also has a big appetite for its size. If feeding a high-quality kibble, expect to provide between two and three cups of food per day. This should be split into two evenly sized meals, and some dogs benefit from having their daily rations split into three meals. The amount you feed can be adjusted slightly up or down depending on whether your dog is very active or not, and according to whether he needs to lose or gain weight.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on canned food to ensure that you’re feeding an appropriate amount and remember that treats should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s total daily calorie intake. So, choose healthy treats that are low in calories if you intend to use them for training and as high-value rewards.

Your dog should be given unfettered access to fresh drinking water.

Exercise 🐕

Probably the biggest challenge of owning the Welsh Springer is the amount of exercise they require. You will need to provide at least 2 hours a day. This can include walks, but they will benefit from engaging in higher-intensity exercise. If you like running, take your Welshie with you. If you like going on long hikes, take your new dog with you.

Alternatively, consider canine sports classes like flyball or agility. Not only do these provide plenty of physical exercise but they also offer an opportunity for the two of you to bond. They’re also great for socialization and they provide mental stimulation, too. Because the Spaniel is easily trained and enjoys pleasing you, they will take well to most forms of canine sports.

Welsh Springer Spaniel
Image Credit: Mariekekoene, Pixabay

Training 🦮

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is an intelligent dog that was bred to follow commands. They thrive on being given tasks to do and enjoy pleasing their owners, which makes training very possible. However, the high energy and mental acuity of the breed also means that training needs to be ongoing and persistent. If you don’t train a Spaniel, it will train itself, and its idea of good behavior and yours may not marry.

Although the breed needs persistent and consistent training, it doesn’t do well with harsh training methods. Use positive reinforcement to promote the behaviors you want and ignore unwanted behavior. Although the Welshie responds well to lots of verbal and physical praise, edible treats can also help facilitate effective training and learning.

Socialization is important for all dogs, especially for dogs that can be shy around strangers. Ensure your Welsh Springer Spaniel meets new people and has the opportunity to mix with other dogs from as young an age as possible. If you get a Springer pup, socialization should start straight away. If you take on an adult dog, start as soon as possible. It is never too late to socialize.

Puppy classes are a good way to start your training efforts. You will learn training techniques, and your puppy will learn some basic commands that will stand you both in good stead, and puppy classes also offer a great opportunity to socialize your dog with others. Canine sports classes also offer training and socialization opportunities, while allowing you to burn off some of your high-intensity dog’s physical energy.

Grooming ✂️

The Springer’s coat is designed to protect against inclement weather and water. It is long, thick, and smooth. While the coat is usually easy to brush, it will need brushing every day to ensure that it doesn’t get knotted. At the very least you will need to brush three times a week. Not only will it keep your dog comfortable, but it will also help minimize the impact of shedding. Because the breed enjoys swimming and will jump in rivers and even puddles at any given opportunity, fairly regular baths will be needed. At the very least, have pet wipes handy to quickly get rid of dirt and grime.

Nails will need regular trimming, especially if your dog gets all of its exercise on soft ground like grass. Generally, nail trimming will need to be done every 2 months, but you can do it sooner if you start to hear the nails clicking on hard floors.

Check inside the ears when you brush your dog, especially if it likes to jump in water, and do check for ticks in the coat. Teeth should be brushed at least three times a week, but ideally every day. Dental chews are not an adequate replacement for regular brushing and dental checkups.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Although a generally healthy breed, there are some hereditary conditions that the Welsh Springer Spaniel is more prone to. Springers are prone to hip dysplasia, which means that the hip bones have not formed properly or do not sit properly in the hip joint. It can be painful and lead to arthritis, and dogs with hip dysplasia should not be used to breed puppies.

Ask for screening results to show that the parent dogs were clear of dysplasia. Other possible conditions include entropion and epilepsy.

If you see signs of any of the following conditions, speak to a vet and have your dog checked over.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Serious Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia

Male vs Female

The male Welsh Springer Spaniel will grow to be a little heavier and bigger than the female. Males can also be more playful but more prone to wanderlust, while females are prone to mood swings but tend to be easier to handle.

However, the character of the individual dog plays a more significant role in determining the dog’s traits, rather than gender. Ensuring your dog is well socialized and trained, from a young age, will help ensure a well-rounded adult dog.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Welsh Springer Spaniel

1. Red and White Is the Only Recognized Color

While English Springer Spaniels can come in a couple of different colors and markings, Welsh Springer Spaniels are only recognized in brown and white. Any pattern of coloring is acceptable, but brown and white are the only two colors that can be seen in the coat.


2. They Need a Lot of Exercise

Expect to give your Welsh Springer Spaniel at least 2 hours of exercise every day. While this can include walks, the breed will benefit from more intense forms of exercise. They do well at canine sports including agility and flyball.


3. They’re Good Family Dogs

The breed is gentle, and understanding, and forms a close bond with all of its human family members. It can do well in a family with children, and especially with those who are willing and able to throw a ball around and play with the pup.

Welsh Springer Spaniel outside
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is an uncommon breed that looks and has similar characteristics to the English Springer Spaniel but is a different breed. It is a working breed, which means they do need a lot of exercise, but are also considered easy to train, loyal, and loving. It makes a good family pet, but the family needs to be prepared to offer a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep it entertained.

The Welshie can suffer separation anxiety and will expect to be involved in virtually everything their family gets up to. But they will take to outdoor adventures and will also gladly settle down on the couch with their humans in the evening.


Featured Image Credit: dexter_cz, Shutterstock

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